Charlotte, North Carolina based utility, Duke Energy, has finalised a second deal this year to purchase biogas derived from the anaerobic digestion of swine waste from farms in Kenansville, N.C.
The company said that the biogas will be used to generate carbon-neutral renewable electricity at two power stations.
As part of the deal Optima KV - a partnership that brings together specialists in bioenergy, agriculture, project finance, and environmental stewardship - will construct a number of digesters at farms and pipe the captured methane gas to a centralised facility where it will be cleaned to pipeline quality specifications and injected into the natural gas pipeline system.
The Duplin County location for the proposed facility is in the heart of Smithfield Foods' pork operations.
According to Duke the power will be carbon neutral compared to the emissions that would result if the waste was left to decay using current methods.
Under North Carolina's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS), Duke Energy companies must meet specific compliance targets for swine and poultry waste. In March, the company announced a project with Carbon Cycle Energy to use swine waste-derived gas at four power plants in North Carolina.
Expanding the utility's renewable energy output, the captured methane will be treated, injected into the pipeline system and used at two Duke Energy plants:
- H.F. Lee Station Combined Cycle Plant in Wayne County
- Sutton Combined Cycle Plant in New Hanover County
Under a 15 year term, Optima KV is expected to produce about 80,000 MMBtus of pipeline-quality captured methane a year.
Duke Energy said that this should yield about 11 GWh of renewable energy annually. The renewable energy credits (RECs) generated annually by the effort will help satisfy state mandates.
“Our on-farm digesters will integrate with and support the farmers' existing operations,” explained said Simmons, partner in Optima KV and concept designer.
"By centralising the gas processing, we can take advantage of cost efficiencies and provide carbon-neutral fuel for Duke's existing power plants,” he added.
"We see continued advancement in this technology in North Carolina," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "This project has environmental benefits and is cost-effective for our customers."
The project is expected to be operational by summer next year.
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